Course

Understanding Enemies


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Learn the skills and techniques to view the different perspectives across a conflict zone, including those of the enemy.

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Discover how to use alt-lenses to make sense of the enemy’s motivations

Unless you understand how the ‘other side’ understands the conflict, you’re bound to make costly mistakes, and possibly even worsen the conflict unintentionally.

On this course, Dr Aisha Ahmad will teach you how to look at a conflict through the lens of other groups on the ground, especially the enemy. Through ‘alt-lens’ exercises, you’ll be able to make sense of the actors on the ground, including the most nefarious of them.

Develop your alt-lens and view conflicts from other perspectives

We seek to understand the enemy as real people, not cartoon villains. To do this, we need to begin by looking at how we have perceived ourselves in these environments.

The first week of this course will guide you through how to access your alt-lens in a conflict theatre. This tool will help you develop the ability to see other people’s worldviews, including those that are oppositional to your own.

Explore human behaviour in a conflict environment

The unpredictability of war can lead to some pretty predictable human behaviours. Regardless of cultural or ideological worldview, there are some key patterns of human behaviour and decision-making that repeat during conflict.

You’ll delve into how human behaviour is affected by violent conflict, and how that behaviour can, in turn, lead to conflict escalation.

Use the Malian conflict to apply your new tools to real-world examples

Building on your conflict map from the first course, you’ll connect the tools and techniques from both courses to better analyse the Malian conflict theatre.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to formulate the stories, histories, and worldviews of different groups on the conflict map and explore who the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ are in their stories.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone working or volunteering for an organisation engaged in a conflict-affected environment.

It will also be useful if you’re studying a related subject such as political science, public policy, or international business studies.

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Silas Bamigbola

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